There is a Facebook page, Public Breastfeeding Awareness Project (PBAP), that promotes nursing your children wherever you are as needed. Photographers from around the world donate their time to photographing caregivers feeding their baby via whichever means they use, be it breast, bottle, tube, or any other option. The large focus is on nursing since American society seems to find such an intuitive act “disgusting” and “shouldn’t be done” in public spaces, covered or not. Public perception is so outrageous that my friend over at Where the Watermelons Grow was actually told that breastmilk, her child’s primary form of nutrition, is the equivalent of fecal matter. This clearly highlights a horrendous misconception throughout society.
This is also why movements like PBAP are so important. For new nursing parents, the process of getting a newborn to latch and stay latched is exhausting. Throw in trying to stay covered or secluding yourself to a noisy bathroom stall because society says that’s best and it is surprising as many parents continue to nurse as they do. It is not at all shocking that many parents give up. It’s a hard skill to learn, especially if there are any complications. There is minimal support from hospital staff, medical professionals, and often family. On top of this, strangers think it’s their duty to look down upon you and educate you on your harlot ways when you nurse in public. It is an uphill battle to breastfeed a child.
The perception that breasts are meant for a parnter’s pleasure and nothing more needs to change. That is not their biological purpose. They are not sex organs. Breasts are designed to feed children, period. American society cannot change without movements such as PBAP. Until public nursing becomes mainstream, there will continue to be a need for awareness so that no caregiver gives up on nursing just because society shunned them into it.
To see more images from the #PBAP2016, check out the above link or visit Kimberlin Gray Photography.